Tag Archives: Content

In Search of the Happy Place

Philippians 4:11

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Those are the words of the great Apostle Paul.  They speak to my heart’s desire, but they don’t necessarily align with the manner in which my life was lived in 2017. I never really thought that life would be easy when I said to the Heavenly Father. “I give in!” See, I didn’t have the honor of just obeying. I fought God tooth and nail. I fully believe if I had obediently said in 2010, “Yes God, I’ll go. I’ll quit my job and serve you full time.” That my life would have been considerately different. If over the past seven years I hadn’t tried to get to point “B” by side stepping point “A”,  I may or may not have been struggling. We’re not guaranteed stress free days even when we’re obedient. But I still think that I’m learning a hard lesson now from not being content with the state I’m in.

So my goal in 2018 is to find my Happy Place.

If you found yours what would it look like? And would it look the same as the one God desires for you?

Good question I thought to myself… would mine?

I think there are three things that will bring me to my Happy Place. The first is…

Contentment

If happiness becomes a state of mind, not a state of being, then I’ll have arrived at that place. I watched a living example in Minnesota at the home of my hosts for the week, Butch and Pat. They were not wealthy people. They were not people who hadn’t experienced pain. But they were in their happy place as a couple and as individuals because they were living a life obedient to the Lord. If God said speak, they spoke. If God said sing, they sang. And that might be in the middle of the city square. If God said sell your house and move, they did. A week after I was there to visit as a matter of fact, and they believed another home was in the waiting. And it was. They were happy in the state of Minnesota because they were happy in their state of mind.

Consistent

Another awkward task for me. It means staying on the path that God intended even when it’s hard. Even when there’s no money, seemingly no means for it and the very thing that I feel God called me to do, isn’t happening. So as I searched for my 2018 word, I thought back to my 2017 word of the year. “Pursuit.”

Where had my pursuit taken me? And did I miss my arrival? I’m still pursuing, but I hope this year the pursuit is a little better focused. And consistent: in that I don’t look left and right, only forward to what God’s design is. This past year, every time it would get rough, I would think… this isn’t God’s plan. So I would start applying for jobs and looking for other means and every door slam in my face leaving me more distraught than ever. But through godly people in my life, “I would hear every time, you’re where you belong, you’re making a difference. Stay in this lane.” And often times out of exhaustion, I’d just ride it out and God always provided.

Connected

I need to connect every single aspect of my life to the word of God. So my word for 2018 Is “Hope.” I’ll do the art for it later. But for now I’ll just think on this:

If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature under heaven; where of I Paul am made a minister; who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church. Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God. – Colossians 1:23-25

I do not profess to have suffered in the manner of Paul. But his words are clear.

Continue, being settled (content)

Not moved away (consistent)

A Minister (connected to both God and people)

What about you? Where is your happy place?

When Is Nothing Enough?

contentTo tell you “I struggle with contentment” could quite possibly be the understatement of the year. And while there is a spiritual truth in the fact that we should be constantly growing toward Christ and never content with our spiritual state, there’s also a very humanistic ideal that nothing is enough. What an oxymoron! How could nothing ever be enough?

I’ve heard it again and again that God put the emotion of desire in our hearts, but the first mention of desire in scripture is in Genesis 3:6 where woman saw that the tree was “a tree to be desired to make one wise,” and so she took the fruit. Well… that didn’t end very well for us did it? Obviously there are boundaries for which our desire should or should not be acted upon. The world tells us to “go for the prize,” which I guess that’s okay if it’s the “prize of your high calling which is Christ Jesus” spoken of by Paul to the Philippians, but what about the desires in life of a non-spiritual nature. It’s where guilt enters the picture for me.

I am blessed beyond ridiculousness when it comes to having the desires of my heart met. And yet I have things in life that seem to be out of my reach at all times. Spiritually speaking I feel like I need to “drain the swamp” in my own life and get rid of some things that have me bogged down and fighting to stay afloat. As you can tell, my mind this morning is a battle between the principalities of the air and the Holy Spirit within. God set me on a journey and in this present state of mind I feel like the path is a thick brush that I’m having to hack my way through; I’m so tired from hacking away at it that by the time I get to a clearing I collapse… and the brush has time to grow again. Dramatic? Yeah, I guess so. But that’s life too, always dramatic! So I determined this morning to slow down… not let the monotony of life take the few minutes that I have this morning, and make it mayhem.

Hebrews 13:5-8

Look at what you have

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Looking around my home this morning I can tell you that there are things I want. I can also tell you that there is nothing I need. That statement can lead a conversation in two directions: covetousness or contentment. One will lead to a feeling of resentment and the other will lead to a feeling of resolve. It’s not hard to see which conversation is healthy, but we know it’s not that simple. It would have been healthy for me this morning to have oats and toast for breakfast, and yet I chose a cherry ®Pop Tart. Healthy isn’t as convenient is it?

Look at Who can help you

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

My time lately hasn’t been mine. And I’m not speaking of the time I spend serving others… although that is a decent portion of it. But I speak more to the time that I spend trying to figure out life. Oh my stars! It’s insane how much time I waste pondering what to do, what not to do, what I should have done, how I’ve failed, how I’m going to fix my life… Ha! And then I read verse 6 and see “the Lord is my helper.” Boy, have I missed the mark.

Look at who you’re listening to

Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

I spend way too much time listening to Satan and his minions tell me I’m a failure to which I reply, “Yes, yes I am.” Why do I do that? Because it’s convenient. I can go there and it costs me nothing. But in order to hear the positive words of positive people that God has sent into my life I have to put forth an effort. Read the word of God, find a sermon podcast, etc. Church is a no brainer for me. I wouldn’t even consider not going to church, but come Monday… it’s Satan’s playing field.

Look at the Real Reality

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day3, and for ever.

Back to my first thought, “how can nothing be enough?” The reality is, no “thing” will ever create contentment. Only Christ leads to contentment because He never changes. There’s always an upgrade on the things of life, but it gets no better than Jesus. So this morning as I try to make sense of the chaos I call life I need to look:

Look at what I have – Jesus (all knowing) He understands where I am

Look at Who can help – Jesus (all powerful) He understands what I need

Look at Who I’m listening too (all present) He understands I am weak

Look at Reality – Jesus is all. He Understands

How to have a Satisfied Christmas

CHICK SATISFIED

Satisfaction. I don’t know that I ever achieve it when it comes to my personal goals. I’m not satisfied being a mediocre Christian, and yet that’s what I am in comparison to many others.  Comparison and   satisfaction are mortal enemies that kill the spirit. I have two very different daughters. One loved music the other sports and I tried to nurture each accordingly. The irony is they really weren’t so different. The lover of music because a nurse who cared for the injured. The athlete was musically gifted as well, and relies on her sister quite often for help with injuries, being the mom of three very active little boys. My point in that story is that I love them so much, I don’t compare them, because they are two entirely different beings; unique and awesome just the way God created them. Comparing children causes them to doubt who they are as individuals and damages the spirit. Now me on the other hand, I’m a little harder on myself. No, I am lot harder on myself.

Satisfaction should be a personal goal between you and God. God has expectations of His creations, and we are full of unused potential. I fully believe that, and yet comparison causes us to limit our abilities and kills the spirit within us to be all that we can be. We align our talents up to the world around us. It’s also very easy to align our Christmas up to the world around us. Neighborhood houses compete for the best lights, friends compete for the best parties, and parents compete for the best gifts, all of which serves to kill the spirit of Christmas.

This morning I sat my sights on satisfaction. That’s the gift that I want for myself for Christmas. I want to be satisfied with where I am, but excitedly expectant of where I’m going. If God has me sitting still today, that’s okay… perhaps I need a time out. But there’s still a plan in process that requires action so long as I’m breathing.

Apostle Paul said in  Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

I’ve learned that there is a fine line between content and contention. Contention (conflict) comes from within when we get our sights off things above. Paul had multiple time outs, did he not? How many times was he beaten and imprisoned and taken off the “apparent” playing field. And all the while he was writing these letters… the ones we read today that encourage our soul a few thousand years later. Paul was satisfied with where he was, believing with confidence that God had something greater. And that something greater was me. Not me being better than Paul, but that in 2015 I would be sharing Paul’s words for the encouragement of others and taking them to heart for myself. Glory to God!!! I just wrote myself happy again.

Sidelined… I hate it. I guess that’s why God never gave me the desire to play sports. First of all He knew I’d be really bad it; my baby didn’t get her skills from me, and because of that I’d have been sidelined in every game. And I’m a doer. And in so being a doer I sometimes (actually often times) do it hurriedly. Hey, I’m 53, who knows how much time I got left! God’s working on me this  Christmas to give me the gift of “satisfaction.”

I sang at my Mom-in-laws funeral service Sunday, “I’m satisfied with, just a cottage below, a little silver, and a little gold, But in that city, where the ransomed will shine, I want a gold one, that’s silver lined!”

I do indeed live in a little cottage below that causes me often times to want a mansion on this side of glory… Be satisfied Shari… I want more money… be satisfied Shari…. I want God to use me…. Be satisfied Shari…. I want more acoustic instruments…. Be sati…. 🙂 Just kidding Lord. Be Satisfied Shari.

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